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The Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance
An alliance of the UK's leading organisations associated with the conservation and improvement of traditional buildings
The UK Centre of Excellence for Traditional Buildings
Knowledge and guidance from the UK's leading experts
We are the home of Responsible Retrofit and are one of the founders of the Whole House Approach in the UK.
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SPAB-STBA Conference 2024: New Ideas for Old Buildings

Our annual SPAB-STBA conference will take place at the Hospitium, York, on Tuesday 5 November 2024, 9am – 5pm. The theme this year is: 

New Ideas for Old Buildings: Education, Application & Innovation

Our traditional and historic buildings are facing unique challenges in the face of climate change, technological advancements, skills shortages, and economic pressures. With this year’s theme, we’re exploring where tradition meets innovation, and how the past informs the future. 

Call for Contributions  

We are now inviting innovators and experts in the heritage and sustainability fields to submit contributions to present at the conference in York on Tuesday 5 November. 

You are welcome to submit a proposal for a conventional 20-minute talk. We are also open to suggestions for alternative formats, including Lightning Project Talks, Poster Sessions and PechaKucha Presentations. 

This conference is in person only and we are unable to accept virtual presentations.  

Topics of interest  

We are keen to hear from professionals who can offer insights, share experiences, and present cutting-edge research on a wide array of topics within the theme, including but not limited to:

1. Materials for the Future: Exploring sustainable materials and building techniques that respect the traditional performance of old buildings while meeting contemporary demands for efficiency and environmental responsibility. 

2. Educational Initiatives: Discussing strategies for educating professionals, craftspeople and the public about the significance of traditional buildings and fostering the skills necessary for their preservation and enhancement. 

3. Innovative Applications: Showcasing projects and case studies that demonstrate innovative approaches to the repair and adaptation of traditional buildings for modern use. 

4. Community Engagement: Highlighting successful community-driven initiatives aimed at preserving heritage, revitalising historic areas, and promoting sustainable development practices. 

5. Technological Advancements: Presenting advancements in technology, digital tools, and methodologies that aid in the documentation, analysis, and conservation of traditional buildings.

How to submit your contribution 

Please submit a brief abstract (250-300 words) using this online form by Monday 2 September 2024, 5pm. 

Your abstract should outline your proposal for a presentation, making clear how it fits the theme, along with a short biography highlighting your experience. We will review all submissions and tell you if yours was accepted by Friday 20 September 2024. If successful, we will need your presentation submitted for review by Tuesday 22 October 2024. 

Speakers will need to arrange their own travel and accommodation, but reasonable expenses will be reimbursed. 

If you have any questions, you can email us at

(Coherent, Acceptable, Low Emission Cultural Heritage Efficient renovation)

CALECHE develops a decision support system (DSS) for renovating historic buildings, emphasising a people-centered, holistic, and digitalised approach. The DSS integrates specific protocols for initial evaluations, heritage, energy, structure, engagement, and monitoring, ensuring compliance with cultural value protection regulations. CALECHE focuses on improving key technologies like interior bio-insulation, window conservation, and BIPV, demonstrating the link between innovation and heritage renovation. The work is showcased across four examples and accessible on the Historic Renovation HUB website.

STBA’s role is to lead the coordination on:

  • A literature review placing the approach in a theoretical context
  • A review of existing tools and methodologies placing the approach in a practical context
  • Stakeholder engagement capturing feedback on the identification and weighting of values and benefits as well as analysing trade-offs between various benefits and impacts
  • Bringing those threads together to define the key features and write the specification to this multi-criteria decision support system tool to be hosted on a Historic Renovation Hub

Other partners will be working on integrating BIM, AI, a repository of retrofit solutions, wider stakeholder engagement, and dissemination and communication, as well as four casestudies for pilot study – including individual buildings as well as areas, where outputs will be analysed over a range of factors, heritage and technical.

STBA Briefing guide: The use of Natural Materials in Retrofit

This briefing explores opportunities, limitations, and barriers of using natural insulation in retrofitting. This essential because natural materials can mitigate risks and promote healthier buildings.

Download the guide here.

STBA Case Study: Ton Pentre: Whole House Retrofit, 2023

STBA is delighted to announce the release of a new Case Study in Whole House Retrofit. The building is a small mid-terraced solid walled dwelling in Wales, typical of many throughout the UK. The case study is particularly significant due to the excellent u-value achieved on the rear wall (0.53W/m2K), with minimal insulation thickness, and the use of materials compatible with the original fabric. Overall, the building exhibits good internal air quality and achieves an EPC band A rating. Click the image below to read the report.

How to Improve Energy Eficiency in Historic Buildings in Wales

From Retrofit to Regeneration

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) Guide to Energy Retrofit Of Traditional Buildings